“The zenith of elegance in any woman’s wardrobe is the little black dress,” begins the forward to André Leon Talley‘s book on the subject, which was published in conjunction with the Little Black Dress exhibit at the Savannah College of Art and Design. A condensed version of the show—with LBDs donated from Talley pals such as Anna Wintour, Patricia Altschul, and Deeda Blair—made its debut at the Mona Bismarck American Center for Art & Culture in Paris last night. “It’s one of the crowning achievements of my career,” the Numéro Russia editor said of the opening, a benchmark he celebrated with a hundred-plus of his nearest and dearest.
Vera Wang singled out Fortuny’s turn-of-the-century pleated silk Grecian gown as the best of the dresses on display—aside from her own full-skirted tulle confection, of course. “Black is the most modern way to interpret design,” Wang said, as cocktails segued into dinner at the MAC-sponsored event at nearby Monsieur Bleu. Riccardo Tisci, Emilio Pucci’s Peter Dundas, Haider Ackermann, and Olivier Theyskens all turned out. “You can accessorize the little black dress with so much,” Mary Katrantzou said, and you can really show off your personality, because it doesn’t do too much talking.”
Except, of course, if the LBD in question is the sheer Comme des Garçons lace number that launched 1,000 tweets when Marc Jacobs wore it with white boxer shorts to last year’s Met Gala. But that piece is just as important to the show’s message as the more demure offerings on view, said Talley. “That’s why I did the book. The Little Black Dress is not about the historical accuracy of what a black dress was in the thirties or forties or fifties. It’s about individuality and freedom.”
Over in the first, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, friends of Christian Lacroix—Azzedine Alaïa, Bruno Frisoni, Christian Louboutin, and Jean Paul Gaultier included—gathered to celebrate the designer’s one-off Couture collection for Schiaparelli. Lacroix was in fine form, despite staying up past 4 a.m. the night before at a dinner chez Alaïa. “My friends gave me Schiap’s autobiography, Shocking Life, when I was a student,” the designer told Style.com. “She’s always following me. I wonder what she’d think of all this.” Little doubt she’d be pleased by all the magazine requests pouring in after a morning of previews. “I’m so happy for Christian,” said Olivier Saillard, the Musée Galliera’s curator. “You know, this is the place of his last défilé. It’s like coming home.”
—Celia Ellenberg and Nicole Phelps